Connection Three Ways

Few would argue that connections aren't important. Being human involves making connections with other people, the environments and systems we find ourselves immersed in, and even with our own thoughts and feelings. We are social beings, and as such, we thrive when we're able to successfully interact with the people, places, and systems surrounding us, but interestingly enough, many would also find it difficult to explain how they actually establish these important connections.

I believe we connect in three fundamental ways. Firstly through emotions, secondly through thoughts, and thirdly through actions. 

The foundation of human connection is anchored in our emotions. It's hard to make a meaningful connection without beginning with our heart. If we don't feel an emotional connection with another person, place, or process, it's hard to be inspired to evolve that connection toward any other purpose or context.

Emotional connections set up potential intellectual connections. Feeling comfortable with another in the affective domain allows us the safe space and opportunity to explore thoughts and ideas together. Thoughts often lead to actions. 

Making connections with others starts with our hearts (emotions), continues with our heads (thoughts), and evolves with our hands (actions). 

It's common to hear catchphrases within organizations sounding something like "we make connections..." and this 'connecting' with others is primarily thought of in positive ways, but it's also entirely possible that our connections can be negative and lead to negative outcomes. There are those among us, perhaps many, who choose to use their emotions, their thoughts, and their actions to connect with people in ways that are manipulative, perhaps immoral, even wicked, and wrongful. They do it to gain influence or power, to increase wealth, to enact revenge and for many other insidious reasons. It remains somewhat ironic that what is generally considered a righteous and generative thing to do, the effort to make connections can also lead to very wrong and damaging things happening.

One needs only to look at the current political climate. There is absolutely zero doubt that many prominent politicians use tactical strategies to deliberately connect with people's emotions for questionable reasons. I once had a professor as an undergrad who would speak about Plato's views on  emotion and reason as "two horses pulling us in opposite directions." People who crave power and control don't desire that their subjects can employ reason and think for themselves as this renders them more difficult to manipulate. Preying on their emotions is a much more leverageable effort to make.  

If powerful people are successful at planting the seed of desire in those they wish to control, and manipulating the emotions that surround that desire, they have a good chance at also successfully manipulating what people know, or perhaps a better way to say it, what they think they know. This is an arguably precarious reality, and brings me back to my assertion that few would argue that connections aren't important, but they can be important to effect good, and bad realities. A strong need for temperament becomes very much in play if we're to avoid the latter.

In order to trust that another's intent to connect with us is pure and authentic, we need to reflect clearly on the type of temperament the other is employing to do so, and also perhaps more importantly the temperament we're employing to perceive it.

The image above from lays out the four different types of temperaments. Each of us employs a blend of temperaments depending on the situation, and the outcome we're intending for our behavior. I suggest that becoming very familiar with the different types and degrees of temperament would be a purposefully fruitful effort to make, From the article, 
All the major theories recognize the four dimensions (temperaments) of behavior: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. These four temperaments represent a unique cluster of inborn traits that causes you, in part, to do what you do. Everyone is a blend of all four temperaments and the greatest influence on a person’s behavior is from their first temperament.
In our attempts to make connections with other people, and to intelligently perceive why others are attempting to make connections with us, being cognizant of the temperament/s being employed is a wise move. 'Considering the source,' as they say, is a principle that we need to be vitally attuned to, and especially when the source is us. In the process of connection-making, knowing where we're coming from regarding our own temperament allows us to more lucidly articulate why others are trying to make a connection with us. 

May all your connections be good ones.


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